Learning to Listen: Conversations for Change Archive


Upcoming Events

Learning to Listen: Conversations for Change is a free webinar series that offers virtual conversations with inspiring leaders working on the frontlines of current and emerging issues for children and families.

All Learning to Listen conversations are one-hour long and feature live Spanish translation, closed-captioning, and an interactive Q and A. Register today and join the conversation!

To view recordings of the entire Learning to Listen series, visit our YouTube Channel.

Learning to Listen 2023
Fall Episode 1: Babies, Mothers, and Climate Change: Protecting the Most Vulnerable with Rupa Basu, PhD, MPH, Chief of the Air and Climate Epidemiology Section at the California Environmental Protection Agency
Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Rupa Basu, Ph.D., MPH, is currently the Chief of the Air and Climate Epidemiology Section at the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) of the California Environmental Protection Agency. She has published extensively on research focusing on examining temperature and air pollution on health outcomes, including mortality, morbidity, and adverse birth outcomes while identifying vulnerable subgroups. 

Prior to joining OEHHA, she worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency, after obtaining her PhD degree in epidemiology from The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and her MPH degree from the UCLA School of Public Health.  She collaborates with external agencies such as the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Kaiser Division of Research.

She has served as a referee for many health journals and has been on several scientific advisory panels for reviewing grant proposals and reports for federal and state governmental agencies. She serves on several statewide and national climate change committees and has been an invited guest speaker on many occasions from academic settings including teaching a course on climate change and public health at UC Berkeley to governmental leaders, such as former Governor Schwarzenegger. She was featured in the Emmy award-winning climate change documentary, Years of Living Dangerously, “Mercury Rising” episode with Matt Damon. Dr. Basu’s work is widely cited and has received a lot of media attention, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, LA Times, SF Chronicle, National Public Radio, and BBC World News.

Fall Episode 2: Raising Healthy Kids in a Digitized, Commercialized World
with Susan Linn, EdD, Lecturer in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Research Associate at Boston Children’s Hospital
Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Susan Linn, Ed.D,  a psychologist, an author, and an award-winning ventriloquist, is a world-renowned expert on creative play, and the impact of tech and commercial marketing on children.

Dr. Linn’s books have been praised in publications as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and The New York Times, which called her most recent book Who’s Raising the Kids? Big Tech, Big Business and the Lives of Children, “Engrossing and Insightful.”

A passionate advocate for children, Dr. Linn was the Founding Director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (now called Fairplay) from 2000-2015. She has lectured on the importance of creative play, the impact of tech, media, and marketing on children, and on puppetry as a therapeutic tool, throughout North America, and in South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.

Dr. Linn is internationally known for her use of puppets as therapeutic tools for children. She pioneered this work at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Children’s AIDS Program, where she used puppets to help children cope with illness, hospitalization, death, loss, and other life challenges. Dr. Linn and her puppets appeared in several episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. She has written and appeared in a number of video programs designed to help children cope with issues ranging from mental illness to death and loss and, most recently, stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This Secret Should Be Told, a syndicated TV program for children about sexual abuse, won a coveted Action for Children’s Television Award and earned Dr. Linn a New England Emmy.

Fall Episode 3: Imagining the Indian – The Fight Against Native American Mascoting with Ben West, Co-Director, Yancey Burns, Co-Producer, and Amy West, Psychologist
Wednesday, December 13, 2023, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Join Indigenous filmmakers Ben West and Yancey Burns, and psychologist, Amy West, on Wednesday, December 13 to find out why Native mascots are so harmful to all children, how pervasive Native mascots are in schools across the country and beyond, and what we all can do about it. They’ll share with us clips from their courageous new documentary, “Imagining the Indian“, the voices of Native American experts on children’s positive cultural identity, and the struggles and strategies of undaunted Native American leaders who will not stop until the misappropriation of Native culture and the stereotyping stop.

Ben West (Cheyenne)
Co-Director / Co-Producer / Co-Writer

Ben West (Cheyenne) is a writer and filmmaker who has worked with companies such as Carsey-Werner Mandabach, Telenova Productions, Mandalay Pictures, and outlets such as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

West was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and is a graduate of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. He has chosen to focus much of his life’s work on Native Peoples.

Yancey Burns
Co-Producer / Co-Writer

A graduate of the George Washington University Documentary Film Center, he wrote and directed the award-winning documentary short One Fall, which explores the return of independent professional wrestling to the District of Columbia.

Prior to filmmaking, he was a practicing attorney, most recently with the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, where he prosecuted ethical misconduct in the DC government. He also owns and manages his family farm in Lincoln County, West Virginia, which produces 100% grass-fed Hereford beef.

Burns holds a BS in Journalism from West Virginia University, a JD from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, and an MA in Strategic Communication from the GWU School of Media and Public Affairs.

Amy West, Ph.D.

Dr. Amy E West is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Psychology, and Psychiatry & the Behavioral Sciences; Associate Director for Education, Research, and Training, and Director of the CHLA Child Clinical and Pediatric Psychology Internship in the Departments of Psychology and Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and USC Keck School of Medicine.

Dr. West is a Board-Certified clinical child and adolescent psychologist with research interests in studying predictors and mechanisms of treatment response in pediatric mood and anxiety disorders, with a particular focus on the application of psychosocial interventions in diverse, underserved populations. Dr. West also has a program of research focused on Indigenous youth mental health; she has partnered with urban and reservation tribal populations across the U.S. to conduct community-based participatory research and intervention development to address mental health disparities in Indigenous children and families.

Dr. West is Southern Cheyenne and has 20+ years of experience working in Indigenous communities and as part of national Indigenous networks of scholars focused on promoting the health and well-being of Indigenous youth. She has served in national leadership and advisory positions with respect to Indigenous child development and mental health, including as part of the Tribal Research Council funded by the Administration for Children and Families, American Indian/Alaska Native Research Task Forces at the National Institutes of Health, and the Native Children’s Research Exchange, among others.

Dr. West received a B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University, her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia, and completed her pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School/Children’s Hospital Boston.

Spring Episode 1: How to End Gun Violence and Homophobic Hate: Two Mothers’ Journey through Loss to Love, with Jane Clementi and Scarlett Lewis
Wednesday, February 22, 2023, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and Scarlett Lewis, founder of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement shared their journeys from the loss of their sons to their work to strengthen the social-emotional skills of children and end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities.

Jane Clementi co-founded the Tyler Clementi Foundation to make sure that society learns the consequences of discrimination and bullying, as she learned all too personally through the loss of her son Tyler.  The mission of the Tyler Clementi Foundation is to end all online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities through educational research, legislative advocacy, and awareness programming.  Jane’s desire is to change hearts and minds so that everyone can live and thrive free of harassment, intimidation, and humiliation, and to ignite a culture shift so that all people will experience kindness, respect, and consideration.  She has spoken before the US Congressional HELP committee, at the National Cathedral, the Federal Reserve Bank, the NYC prosecutor’s office, as well as at numerous conferences including HRC’s Time to Thrive, Q Christian Network, and SUNY’s SPECTRUM Preventing and Responding to Violence Against LGBTQI+ Students, and numerous other colleges, high schools, and workplaces.

Scarlett Lewis founded the nonprofit Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement after her son was murdered during the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in December 2012.  Choose Love for Schools Program is a no-cost, comprehensive, lifespan program that teaches children and adults how to manage their emotions, feel connected, and have healthy relationships – to thoughtfully respond with love in any situation, handle adversity, and have courageous conversations. Choose Love is used in over 10,500 schools in the United States, accessed in all 50 states and 120 countries, reaching more than 2 million children, and has been extended into homes, communities, athletics, and the workplace. In her local community and beyond, Scarlett is on a mission to cultivate safer classrooms and school climates, offer mental health initiatives to cope with the stress of COVID, and create a more peaceful world by educating the whole child and teaching children to Choose Love.

Spring Episode 2: Harm and Healing: The Mental Health of AAPI and LGBTQ Children with Warren Ng, MD, MPH
Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Warren Ng, MD, MPH, President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Director of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services, Medical Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health, and Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, discussed the mental health of Asian American and Pacific Islander and LGBTQ children, the harms they are experiencing and how these have been exacerbated by the pandemic and political polarization, and the ways that we all can help AAPI and LGBTQ children and youth heal.

Warren Y. K. Ng, MD, MPH, oversees the clinical programs in child, adolescent, and adult outpatient and community behavioral health at New York-Presbyterian’s Division of Community and Population Health, and the psychiatric services at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York’s outpatient, emergency department and inpatient services.  President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent, Dr. Ng serves on the New York State Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council, and at the American Psychiatric Association has served on the Council on Children, Adolescents and their Families. He is an Aspen Institute Health Innovator Fellow, member of the Aspen Global Learning Network, and recipient of Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Martha Hooven Award for Excellence in Community Service.   

Spring Episode 3: Human-Centered Design for a World Without Racism
with Makeeba McCreary and Augusta Meill
Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Makeeba McCreary, President of the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund, and Augusta Meill, Executive Director at Agncy, a human-centered design firm, shared with us their process for bringing together community-based nonprofit organizations and philanthropic foundations to vision — and take action toward — a world without racism.

Makeeba McCreary, Ed.D. is president of the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund (NCF). NCF was founded by Black and Brown executives from Massachusetts’ leading corporations to support Black and Brown communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in the wake of the brutal killing by police of George Floyd. In its first year, NCF raised $30 million toward its initial fundraising goal of $100 million, to be used to support eligible nonprofit organizations and build an ecosystem of leaders and stakeholders committed to dismantling systemic racism in Boston and across the state.  Prior to joining NCF, Makeeba was a senior leader at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and served as Managing Director and Senior Advisor of External Affairs for Boston Public Schools, reporting directly to the Mayor and Superintendent of Schools.

Augusta Meill is the director of the non-profit design firm Agncy. Working in the systems of education, healthcare, and criminal justice, much of Agncy’s work is focused on disenfranchised communities across Boston. Agncy merges the design process with the philosophy of community organizing, seeking to redistribute power, create coalitions, and develop solutions that align incentives and values between community members and institutions. agncy.org

Learning to Listen 2022
Spring Episode 1: Listening to Children and Families in Court with Judge Erica Yew
Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

In this first conversation of BTC’s Learning to Listen: Conversations for Change spring series, the Honorable Judge Erica Yew will share what she has been learning over the course of her convention-shattering career, and the importance of listening to families and partnering with them to improve justice outcomes for all.

Judge Yew was appointed by the Supreme Court as a CJEO member in May, 2019. She has served on the Santa Clara County Superior Court since 2001, where her judicial assignments have included a variety of court settings, such as presiding over a dependency drug treatment court and other collaborative problem-solving courts. In 2010, the Supreme Court appointed Judge Yew to the Commission on Judicial Performance, where she served as a member until 2019, and as the commission’s chairperson from 2013 to 2016. Judge Yew also served as a member of the Judicial Council from 2009 to 2012. Currently, she serves on the boards for the National Center for State Courts and the California Judges Association. She is also a member of the California Access to Justice Commission and co-chairs the commission’s Racial Justice and Intersectionality Committee. Judge Yew is also a co-chair of Governor Newsom’s California Judicial Mentor Program. Judge Yew has received a number of awards for her community service and work as a judge, including Outstanding Jurist of the Year in 2016 from the Santa Clara County Bar Association and the 2017 Distinguished Service Award from the Judicial Council.

View the recording

Spring Episode 2: Who Rocks The Cradle? New Ways of Being Family and COVID’s Impact with Andrew Solomon, Ph.D.
Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Join Andrew Solomon, Ph.D., LGBTQ rights, mental health, and arts activist; New Yorker and New York Times contributor; and award-winning author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression as he ponders how COVID has challenged and changed our families, and find out who rocks the cradle now.​

Andrew Solomon observes that the nature of family has changed and is changing profoundly, and proposes that we cheat ourselves when we fail to recognize and celebrate that burgeoning diversity. He has met with single parents, divorced parents, foster parents, parents who used assisted reproductive technology, same-sex parents, multi-parent families, and many other categories of people who are inventing new structures from which we all stand to learn. His work has deepened profoundly his experience as a husband and father.

Andrew Solomon, Ph.D., is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center, Lecturer in Psychology at Yale University, and past President of PEN American Center. He is a writer and lecturer on psychology, politics, and the arts and an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, and the arts. Andrew writes regularly for The New Yorker and The New York Times.

His 2012 book, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and was chosen as one of the New York Times Ten Best Books of 2012. His subsequent book, Far and Away: How Travel Can Change the World, was published in 2016 and has been named a New York Times Notable Book. He previously wrote The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, which won the 2001 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize. Most recently, he made an award-winning film of Far from the Tree, available on Hulu, and an audiobook called New Family Values. ​Andrew lives with his husband and son in New York and London and is a dual national. He also has a daughter with a college friend.

View the recording

Spring Episode 3: Sesame Workshop Listening to Families Resettling in the US with Tara Wright and Maria del Rocío Galarza
Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

On any given day, there are more than 80 million refugees around the world, nearly half of whom are children. Join Sesame Workshop’s Tara Wright, Senior Manager of Content Design, and Maria del Rocio Galarza, Vice President of US Social Impact for a conversation about how Sesame Workshop aims to support children, families, and providers as they arrive and resettle in the United States by creating resilience-building resources and celebrating the unique strengths of different communities.

Tara Wright serves as Senior Content Manager in the U.S. Social Impact department at Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind the beloved children’s show, Sesame Street. In her work at Sesame, Tara creates content for SesameStreetInCommunities.org and SesameStreetforMilitaryFamilies.org, with the goal to help kids, families, and the providers who serve them grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Tara is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, a Marine Corps wife, and a mama to two young boys.

Maria del Rocío Galarza serves as Vice President of US Social Impact at Sesame Workshop. Maria manages the development of educational content for a wide range of multimedia projects. As an expert in early childhood educational development, Maria works with advisors to ensure that the content of Sesame Street’s initiatives is age-appropriate, engaging, and effective.

View the recording

Fall Episode 1: Meeting the Challenges Facing Our Children and Youth with Geoffrey Canada
Wednesday, September 28, 2022, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Geoffrey Canada, Founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, shared with us what he is learning with children, parents, and teachers about the many ways in which the pandemic continues to disrupt children’s learning, development, and well-being, and his call to action — for all of us.

Canada is a leading advocate for children and an innovator in the field of education. He grew up in one of the most devastated communities in the United States, the South Bronx, raised by a single mother. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College, and eventually went on to earn a master’s degree at Harvard University. He vowed to help children who grew up in disadvantaged circumstances to succeed through education.

Canada created the Harlem Children’s Zone, a birth-through-college network of programs that today serves more than 13,000 low-income students and families in a 97-block area of Central Harlem in New York City. The unprecedented success of the Harlem Children’s Zone has attracted the attention of the media and leaders around the world. In 2011, Canada was named one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine and as one of the 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine in 2014. President Barack Obama created the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone model across the country,

Canada has been profiled extensively in the media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Forbes, among others. He was featured in the documentary about the dire state of American education, Waiting for Superman, and has received more than 25 honorary degrees, including ones from Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Dartmouth University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has also influenced a new generation of education reformers through his writings, including essays in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, as well as two critically acclaimed books on poverty and violence: Fist Stick Knife Gun and Reaching Up for Manhood.

After 30 years with the organization, Canada stepped down in 2014 as Chief Executive Officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone but continues to serve as President. In June 2020, Canada founded The William Julius Wilson Institute (WJW), which will serve as the national platform to help communities impacted by poverty across the country design and implement their own place-based programs — and its first initiative will be to combat the devastation of COVID-19 in the Black community.

View the recording

Fall Episode 2: Celebrating Indigenous Family and Cultural Strengths & Promoting Health Equity with Melissa Walls, PhD
Wednesday, October 26, 2022, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

American Indian and First Nations (hereafter Indigenous) communities are home to countless cultural, community, and family strengths. Yet, in the face of colonization and resulting health inequities, these strengths are often missed, uncelebrated, and/or misunderstood in health research. Innovation in the ways we engage with, celebrate, and assess Indigenous sources of strength is a critical step forward for equity-driven research. This presentation shared examples of Indigenous family strengths in the forms of benevolent childhood experiences, positive cultural identity, and other socio-cultural factors. Research from ongoing tribally-based participatory research studies reveal how these strengths are associated with positive health outcomes and thus represent important protective factors for promoting Indigenous well-being in holistic ways.

Melissa Walls, Ph.D., is an Anishinaabe social scientist working in collaboration with Indigenous communities in the United States and Canada on health equity research and culturally relevant public health programming. Dr. Walls is an Associate Professor of American Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Director of the Great Lakes Hub of the Johns Hopkins University Center for American Indian Health.

Dr. Walls serves as the principal investigator with a longstanding research team that includes Anishinaabe community members and academic researchers working together to understand and address the social, historical, and contemporary determinants of unequal health outcomes.

View the recording

Fall Episode 3: Listening to What Voters Want for Children with Linda SmithWednesday, December 7, 2022, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

We listened with Linda Smith, Director of the Bipartisan Policy Council’s (BPC) Early Childhood Development Initiative, as she discussed what the 2022 midterm elections told us about who is listening to the children, and their families, and what we can expect policymakers — on both sides of the aisle — will and won’t do on their behalf.

Previously, Smith served as the executive director for the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), where she represented more than 650 community-based agencies concerned with the care of children in their earliest years. Key components of NACCRRA’s advocacy efforts included strengthening childcare licensing and oversight, requiring comprehensive background checks, and establishing minimum training requirements for all childcare workers.

Smith most recently served as the deputy assistant secretary for early childhood development in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, she provided overall policy coordination for the Head Start and Early Head Start programs and the Child Care and Development Fund. She also served as the department’s liaison to the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies.

Smith served as a legislative fellow and professional staffer on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee under the chairmanship of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Prior to this work, she was the director of the Office of Family Policy for the Secretary of Defense, where she was one of the primary architects of the military’s childcare program. Additionally, she has held positions with both the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. Smith began her career in early childhood education on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in her native state of Montana. She is a graduate of the University of Montana.

View the recording

Learning to Listen 2021

Returning for a sixth season of engaging dialogue, BTC’s Learning to Listen: Conversations for Change featured luminaries across the family-facing fields who are exploring current and emerging issues facing children and families today. Each conversation was facilitated by BTC Executive Director Dr. Joshua Sparrow.

Spring Episode 1: Disrupting Implicit Bias in Early Childhood Programs
with Dr. Rosemarie Allen
Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

This presentation will provide an overview of implicit bias in early childhood environments and its impact on interactions and relationship building. Participants will engage in strategies to reduce implicit bias and examine and explore stressful situations in the early childhood environment that are most likely to be influenced by implicit bias. ‘White Spaces’ will be discussed as areas where implicit bias lives and is expressed.

Dr. Rosemarie Allen has served as a diversity, equity, and inclusion leader for over 30 years. She serves as the President and CEO of the Institute for Racial Equity & Excellence (IREE), which is the lead agency for ensuring equity in educational and organizational practices throughout the nation. In this capacity she has worked with the United States Department of Education as well as 48 State Departments of Education, the United States Customs and Border Protection, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Police Officer Standard Training (POST), and numerous police departments, school districts and other organizations providing training on implicit bias, microaggressions, anti-racism, and racial equity. Dr. Allen is also an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.  Her classes are focused on ensuring leaders are aware of how issues of equity, privilege, and power impact human interactions and teaching practices. 

Rosemarie has served in directorship roles with the Colorado Department of Human Services as the Director of the Division of Early Learning and in Youth Corrections. In Early Learning, she oversaw the State’s child care licensing program, the federal child care assistance program, the redesign of the State’s quality rating and improvement system, the implementation of the State’s professional development plan, and assisted in the creation of Colorado’s early learning guidelines.  

View the recording

Spring Episode 2: Parents as Advocates for Children with Debi Jackson
Wednesday, April 28, 2021, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Join Debi Jackson, a self-described “conservative Southern Baptist Republican from Alabama” and nationally-known advocate for transgender rights, discussing how her transgender daughter launched her on her life’s mission: to help us to listen to children’s messages that are hard to hear, that may call into question everything we were brought up to believe.

Debi Jackson is a nationally-known advocate for transgender rights. She is the mother of a transgender child and frequently travels to speak about trans kids. She was recently awarded the 2016 Role Model Award by the National Education Association’s GLBT Caucus. Through her advocacy, she works with esteemed organizations such as PFLAG, the Human Rights Campaign, Gender Odyssey, and the Trevor Project. Her involvement with these organizations, as well as her personal connection to several thousand transgender adults and families with transgender children, has enhanced her knowledge and understanding of trans-inclusivity needs and solutions.

Debi Jackson first took the world by storm in 2014 when her speech about her daughter’s transition at the age of 4 went viral. The self-described “conservative Southern Baptist Republican from Alabama” now speaks on behalf of transgender children and their families around the world. Debi is one of the first parents to speak out in a very public way in support of a transgender child. Even though her personal story is compelling, she doesn’t expect people to form opinions based on their heart alone. She appeals to logic and reason. In order to advocate for her daughter and now, all transgender children, she has amassed a huge amount of data that can help destigmatize transgender people in society.

View the recording

Spring Episode 3: Uniting Worldviews to Advance Relationships in Indigenous Communities
with Terry Cross
Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

This virtual presentation will examine how NICWA has used the intersection between the linear worldview of Western culture, helping, and research and the relational worldview of Indigenous peoples and organizations to advance the interests of Indigenous children and families. NICWA’s success as a community development, training, and advocacy organization has been built on its culturally based approach. The speaker will share the story of this process as an example of decolonizing relationships between mainstream service providers and researchers and Indigenous communities.

Terry Cross (Ha-ne-ga-noh), Member of the Seneca Nation, founding executive director of NICWA and author of Positive Indian Parenting and co-authored Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care. Terry is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation, received his master’s degree in social work from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. He is the founding executive director of NICWA, now serving as senior advisor. He is the author of Positive Indian Parenting and co-authored Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care, published by Georgetown University. He has 47 years of experience in child welfare, including 10 years of direct practice.

View the recording

Fall Episode 1: What the Eyes Don’t See- Listening to Children and Families to Uncover Environmental Injustice with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha retraced what she heard and saw as she listened to children and families that led her to uncover the lead poisoning epidemic disproportionately affecting the Black and Brown communities of Flint, Michigan. She also discussed how she partnered with families in Flint to build a national movement for environmental justice.

Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP, is a pediatrician, scientist, activist, and author. Her research on blood lead levels in Flint, Michigan’s children sparked a national environmental and racial justice movement. Dr. Hanna-Attisha is the founder and director of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, an innovative and model public health program in Flint. She was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2016 and recognized as one of USA Today’s Women of the Century for her role in uncovering the Flint water crisis and leading recovery efforts. She has testified four times before the United States Congress and is a recipient of the Freedom of Expression Courage Award by PEN America.

Most recently, she received the 2020 CDC Foundation’s Fries Prize for Improving Health. A frequent contributor to national media outlets, she is the founding donor of the Flint Child Health and Development Fund, and author of the widely acclaimed and bestselling book, What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City.

Fall Episode 2: How to Call People In (Instead of Calling Them Out) with Loretta J. Ross
Wednesday, October 26, 2021, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

In this conversation, Professor Loretta J. Ross shares stances, skills, and strategies for listening to those with whom we disagree. She discusses how we can call in those whose implicit or explicit biases limit what they hear into productive conversations and new understandings.

Professor in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College, Loretta J. Ross teaches courses on white supremacy, human rights, and calling in the calling out culture. Professor Ross co-created the theory of reproductive justice in 1994 and has dedicated much of her career to health and reproductive justice for women of color.

She has served as Executive Director of the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, National Program Director of the National Black Women’s Health Project, National Coordinator of the Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and National Co-Director of the March for Women’s Lives (Washington D.C, April 25, 2004). A self-described radical Black feminist, Professor Ross is also an activist and public intellectual, and has co-authored three books on reproductive justice: Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice (2004); Reproductive Justice: An Introduction (2017); and Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique (2017). Her newest book, Calling In the Calling Out Culture, is forthcoming in 2022.

View the recording

Fall Episode 3: Indigenous Wisdom for Listening to Children and Families with Dr. Hinemoa Elder
Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Dr. Hinemoa Elder, MNZM, a Māori child and adolescent psychiatrist and Fellow of the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, speaks with Brazelton Touchpoints Center Executive Director Joshua Sparrow, MD, about her reflections as a Māori child and adolescent psychiatrist, with the aim of broadening our focus in order to foster and maintain well-being for families. This event is part of BTC’s Learning to Listen: Conversations for Change webinar series.

Dr. Hinemoa Elder, MNZM, is of Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kurī, Te Rarawa, and Ngāpuhi nui tonu descent. She is an advocate for Te Reo Māori — the Māori language and the cultural knowledge the language embodies. A child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Elder works clinically in community, inpatient, and forensic settings, and has conducted research grounded in Māori methodology and ways of knowing and being on traumatic brain injury in young people, and dementia from a Māori perspective.

A Fellow of the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Dr. Elder received the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2019 for services to Māori and Psychiatry. She is the Chair of the Indigenous Working Group of the International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and Allied Professionals (IACAPAP) and is on the working group for child and adolescent psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association. Before beginning her medical career, Dr. Elder hosted a live daily children’s television program in Aotearoa. Her best-selling book, Aroha: Māori wisdom for a contented life lived in harmony with our planet, was published in 2021.

View the recording

Learning to Listen 2020
Spring Episode 1: Trauma and Recovery: Children in Warzones, Raising Children to Make Peace
with Ishmael Beah and Priscillia Kounkou Hoveyda
Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Featuring Ishmael Beah, whose best-seller, A Long Way Gone, tells the story of his life as a child soldier in Sierra Leone, and Priscillia Kounkou-Hoveyda, a human rights lawyer and activist who has helped reintegrate girls into their communities who had been used by terrorists as weapons of war. They share their experiences with BTC’s Joshua Sparrow, MD, and discuss how together they are raising their own children to understand who they are and where they come from.

View the recording

Spring Episode 2: Learning with Parents: Children on the Autism Spectrum and the Arts
with Yudi Bennett and Elaine Hall
Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Featuring Elaine Hall, Founder of The Miracle Project and internationally recognized autism educator and advocate, and Yudi Bennett, co-Founder of Exceptional Minds and Founder of the Foothill Autism Alliance. Yudi and Elaine join BTC’s Joshua Sparrow, MD, in exploring how – as mothers and entertainment industry professionals – they both learned not only to listen to their children, but to give voice to thousands of children with autism spectrum disorders, and to help them discover their inner artists.

View the recording

Spring Episode 3: Marriage Equality and Same-Sex Parenting: Families on the Frontlines
with Kris Perry, Laura Benkov, Jane Clementi, Ellen Kahn, and Caitlin Ryan
Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency and Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom on Implementation of Early Childhood Development Initiatives was a plaintiff in the landmark Proposition 8 case which returned marriage equality to California and is an early childhood leader who has been instrumental in strengthening early learning policy, infrastructure, and investments at local, state and national levels.

Kris talks with Brazelton Touchpoints Center’s Joshua Sparrow about her work, her family’s fight for marriage equality, and the struggles and joys of same-sex parenting. Join us after the conversation for a live, interactive panel discussion with Kris and four other women leaders in the fight for LGBTQ families and their rights.

Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary California Health and Human Services Agency and Senior Advisor to the Governor on Implementation of Early Childhood Development Initiatives Kris is a nationally recognized early childhood advocate and has been instrumental in driving effective early learning policy at local, state, and national levels. She previously served as president of Save the Children Action Network (SCAN). Prior to SCAN, Perry was the executive director of the First Five Years Fund. She was also executive director of First 5 California and First 5 San Mateo County, fostering their emergence as one of the most well-known and respected advocates for early childhood development on the state and national levels. Her dedication to children and their families began at the Alameda County Social Services Agency, where she worked for more than 12 years in various capacities, including as a child abuse investigator, family preservation case manager, and program manager. Perry was also a plaintiff in the landmark Proposition 8 case that returned marriage equality to California after a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Laura Benkov, Ph.D., Author, Reinventing the Family: The Emerging Story of Lesbian and Gay Parents  Laura is a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist who has worked with children, adults, couples, and families for decades in a variety of community mental health, private practice, school, and hospital settings, providing both psychotherapy and neuropsychological/psychological evaluation. She is a Behavioral Health Integration Manager at the Pediatric Physicians Organization at Boston Children’s Hospital and is formerly the Clinic Director at Think: Kids at Massachusetts General Hospital. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, she worked at Fenway Community Health Center in Boston, focusing on HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ family formation. She is the author of one of the first books (and several subsequent articles) on the subject of lesbian and gay parenthood, Reinventing the Family: The Emerging Story of Lesbian and Gay Parents (Crown, 1994).

Jane Clementi, Co-founder, and CEO, Tyler Clementi Foundation Jane co-founded the Tyler Clementi Foundation to make sure that society learns the consequences of discrimination and bullying, as she learned all too personally through the loss of her son Tyler. The mission of the Tyler Clementi Foundation is to end all online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities. The Foundation is focused on the areas of educational research, legislative advocacy, and awareness programming.  Jane stands up and speaks out in support of LGBT rights and the need for families and communities to embrace their LGBT populations.  She has spoken before the U.S. Congressional HELP Committee, the National Cathedral, and numerous other faith communities, colleges, universities, high schools, and workplaces.

Ellen Kahn, Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships, Human Rights Campaign Ellen Kahn is the Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign. She oversees a portfolio of programs and projects aimed at improving the lives of LGBTQ youth and families, including Welcoming Schools, All Children-All Families, Project THRIVE, Parents for Transgender Equality, HIV and Health Equity, and the HBCU Program. In her 14+ years at HRC, Ellen has shaped innovative system-change work in child welfare, education, and health care.  She is nationally recognized as an expert on LGBTQ family life, LGBTQ youth, and frequently writes and speaks on these topics for a wide variety of audiences.

A self-described trans-affirming, progressive lesbian feminist social worker, and mother of two wonderful daughters, Ellen has dedicated her career to improving the lives of LGBTQ people–from working on behalf of people with HIV/AIDS in the early days of the epidemic to facilitating dozens of “Maybe Baby” groups for prospective LGBTQ parents. Before joining HRC, Ellen spent 12 years at Whitman-Walker Health (formerly Whitman-Walker Clinic), leading the Lesbian Services Program for eight of those years; in that role, Ellen led the expansion of programs to meet the needs of the growing community of LGBTQ people prospective parents, and those already navigating life with children.

Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., Director, Family Acceptance Project, San Francisco State University Caitlin Ryan is the Director of the Family Acceptance Project—a research, education, intervention, and policy project to help ethnically, racially, and religiously diverse families support their LGBTQ children. Dr. Ryan is a clinical social worker, researcher, and educator who has worked on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) health and mental health for more than 40 years and whose work on LGBTQ health has shaped policy and practice for LGBTQ and gender-diverse children and youth. She received her clinical training with children and adolescents at Smith College School for Social Work. Dr. Ryan pioneered community-based AIDS services at the beginning of the epidemic; initiated the first major study to identify lesbian health needs in the early 1980s; and has worked to reduce risk and promote well-being for LGBTQ youth since the early 1990s. She started the Family Acceptance Project  (FAP) with Dr. Rafael Diaz in 2002 to help diverse families decrease rejection and prevent related health risks for their LGBT children—including suicide, drug use, homelessness, and HIV—and to promote family acceptance and positive outcomes including permanency.

Dr. Ryan and her team have developed the first evidence-informed family support model and a range of research-based materials and assessment tools to help families and caregivers to support their LGBT children, including Best Practice resources for suicide prevention and a series of short documentary films that show the journey from struggle to support of diverse families with LGBT children. Dr. Ryan is implementing FAP’s family support model in behavioral health, family preservation, and out-of-home care, including foster care, school-based care, and pastoral care, and has integrated core FAP components into Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).

View the recording

Fall Episode 1: ​​Parents, Children, and Transgender Identities
with Aydin Olson Kennedy, LCSW, and Johanna Olson-Kennedy, MD
Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

BTC’s Executive Director, Joshua Sparrow, MD, is joined by transgender-rights advocates Johanna Olson, MD, and Aydin Olson-Kennedy, LCSW, for a conversation about children’s gender identity and providing gender affirmation to all children.

Johanna Olson-Kennedy, MD, is an Associate Professor at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, and a full-time practicing faculty member at the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She is the Medical Director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the largest trans-youth clinic in the country. Additionally, Dr. Olson-Kennedy spearheads a rigorous research program aimed at better understanding the experience of gender dysphoria from early childhood through adulthood. She has been providing gender-affirming services for children, adolescents, and young adults for fourteen years. Additionally, she speaks around the world about the importance of timely and appropriate care for transgender youth.

Aydin Olson-Kennedy, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked with underserved and marginalized populations throughout his professional career. He began his Social Work career working with youth in foster care and group homes, the juvenile justice system, and those experiencing homelessness or precariously housed. Aydin’s advocacy work has also included assisting adults with autism, as well as victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Over the past 10 years, his career as a mental health professional has primarily focused on providing services for youth and adults within the trans community and their families. Aydin brings a unique perspective to his career as a transgender man who at one time needed similar mental health and medical services for himself. In 2008, when Aydin began his medical transition, he was unable to find safe, competent, and affirming mental health care. As a result, he commuted over 6 hours each week to meet with a gender specialist to move forward with his transition. This personal experience of overwhelming barriers to care ignited his passion for creating and contributing to accessible, high-quality mental health care within his community. In 2009, he co-founded the Stonewall Alliance Center Community Counseling Program. That program aimed to provide high-quality, no-cost mental health services for LGBTQ youth and adults in Chico, California.

View the recording

Fall Episode 2: Fighting Immigration Policies that Tear Families Apart with  Mayra Alvarez
Wednesday, October 28, 2020, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

BTC’s Executive Director, Joshua Sparrow, MD, is joined by Mayra Alvarez, president of The Children’s Partnership, for a conversation about current immigration policies, their harmful effects on children and families, and what we can all do to stop the violence.

Mayra Alvarez is President of The Children’s Partnership (TCP), a nonprofit children’s advocacy organization committed to giving every child, no matter their background, the resources, and opportunities they need for a bright future. Under her leadership, TCP is building strong community partnerships, conducting forward-looking research, and advancing informed policy that betters the health and well-being of underserved children in California. She combines her decade of experience in health care policy and community outreach with her personal conviction that every child and family should have the opportunity and resources to pursue their dreams.

View the recording

Fall Episode 3: Supporting Fathers Who Were Sexually Abused as Children with Hassan Daniel
Wednesday, November 18, 2020, at 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT

BTC’s Executive Director, Joshua Sparrow, MD, is joined by Hassan Daniel, Founder and CEO of The Father Factory, to discuss fathers with childhood histories of sexual abuse and how they can heal and become the fathers they want to be and their families need them to be.

Hassan Daniel is the Founder and CEO of The Father Factory, Inc., a fatherhood program geared towards positive parenting, biblical literacy, and counseling for fathers who have experienced various types of childhood trauma, including, but not limited to, molestation, and physical and mental abuse. Hassan, is a faithful husband, dedicated father to his two sons, ordained minister, and compassionate speaker on a mission to optimize affirmative parenting outcomes for fathers, by providing guidance, proven resources, and a non-judgmental community. Hassan’s mission is to help fathers navigate through everyday life despite personal dilemmas. Hassan additionally works with families while providing lectures on various topics ranging from inner healing to early childhood development. He is the published author of a book entitled, “Where is the man of the house?”.

View the recording

Thank you to Our sponsor!

The Burke Foundation logo

Learning to Listen is made possible thanks to the generosity of our community and our sponsors.
Thank you for your support.

Support from our community of donors makes Learning to Listen possible!
Every gift of any size helps BTC offer free and accessible programming throughout the entire year!
Sponsorship opportunities are also available for Learning to Listen.

Get Involved

Learn With Us

Babies and children, families and communities do the research on what it takes for them to flourish. Listen with us to what they’ve been learning. Watch a webinar. Check out the Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative. Join the Brazelton Touchpoints Center Learning Network. Join the conversation.

Picture of smiling boy